Why you should make plans for two-week-old martinis and other aged cocktails this season
A huge trend that is spawning evangelists across the world and in Las Vegas more recently, aged cocktails are making an impact in our country. Introduced here last year by Bacardi, it will find quite a few tasters in Bangalore and Chennai, starting today. We’re talking about complete cocktails aged in barrels, just like whiskey or wine. The technique, introduced by American bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler a few years ago, will heighten the flavour and colour of classics and in some cases, result in all-new concoctions. Bacardi trade ambassador, Nitin Tewari, who has designed the cocktails using Bombay Sapphire and Grey Goose (the latter in Bangalore and Chennai), swears by French oak, medium toasted, for this technique. Getting the barrels took time, he admits, adding that charred barrels are a no-no as the flavour of wood will dominate that of the Grey Goose when it’s time to pour.
Cask in season
Given its exclusivity – we’re talking two to four barrels per hotel, a 10 to 35 day wait and about 27 glasses (90ml) per barrel – no patron is going to begrudge the time taken to fashion these beauties, chuckles Tewari. There are some rules, of course, like no fruit juices and emphasis on regular tasting during the ageing. ‘‘Polo Club has housed a beautiful miniature wooden barrel created by Bacardi India, which is ideal for fermenting and creating aged cocktails. The first cocktail we have soaked in this barrel, The French Manhattan, unlike a regular Manhattan of whisky and vermouth, is made with Grey Goose vodka alongside vermouth,’’ explains Pinky Padmaraj, Communications Manager, The Oberoi. That said, it appears the most popular cocktail is the Grey Goose Angel’s Share, featuring Martini Rosso, Cointreau, Campari and the French vodka. These cocktails are served on the rocks or stirred and served like a martini. There is emphasis on maintenance as well, shares Tewari, with the barrels being seasoned with an aromatic wine, vermouth, after the third batch. The evolution of the cocktail in the barrel is a fascinating process, say our mixologists. Now what will be interesting to note is how the bartender is going to add some flourish to the act of pouring, given that the mixing happened weeks ago.
The cocktails are available at The Oberoi and Ritz Carlton, starting today. Priced from Rs750 at The Oberoi. Details: 25585858
— Rosella Stephen